Bayliss: ‘Kane will certainly come into calculations’

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The New Zealand captain would have taken the place of Jonny Bairstow in the season opener had he been match-fit

Kane Williamson has made a career out of proving those who write him off in T20s. He tends to not start the season for Sunrisers Hyderabad, but ends up being a key player by the end of it. While Sunrisers began once again without Williamson in the XI, there was no underestimation of his talents this time. It was ring rust that led to his being left out.

Williamson came into the IPL off the back of an elbow injury that ruled him out of the ODI series against Bangladesh. In his last competitive appearances, more than a month ago, he endured a string of three single-digit scores against Australia. His replacement, Jonny Bairstow, meanwhile came off a fruitful ODI series against India in similar conditions.

“Yeah we just felt that Kane needs a little bit of extra time to get his match fitness,” Sunrisers coach Trevor Bayliss said. “A little bit more time in the nets. He would have played in place of Jonny Bairstow if that would have occurred. But we weren’t too perturbed about that. Jonny has been in form obviously recently in white-ball cricket here in India. And obviously showed in how he batted well tonight.

“Kane will obviously certainly come into calculations as the tournament unfolds.”

Bairstow scored a 32-ball fifty to keep Sunrisers alive in a tall chase, but his dismissal with 86 to get in seven overs just about ended the game for Sunrisers. Abdul Samad raised some hopes for them with an eight-ball 19, which led to the question if Samad is getting enough time to bat for Sunrisers and if he should have come in ahead of Vijay Shankar.

“Hindsight is always a wonderful thing, you know,” Bayliss said. “It is easy to sit back here after the fact but Vijay, in the practice matches that we had, was our best player. He struck the ball beautifully. In one of the games he got 95. He hit a lot of the balls long way over the fence. Look it’s always difficult in those situations when you go in and have to pretty much go from the first ball you face. Samad, in a short space of time last IPL and this one, has shown he has got a lot of talent and he is a clean striker of the ball. I think as he gets more experienced he will get more opportunity.”

With his effectiveness against spin, Bairstow might have earned a bit of a rope before Williamson is brought back into the side. For the moment, Bairstow will be kept in the middle order with Wriddhiman Saha having earned a place at the top.

“At the moment what we want to do is reward the guys that finished the tournament off last year,” Bayliss said. “We got off to a slow start last year but we came home very well to make the playoffs. Someone like Saha opening the batting and batting so well in the tournament. We felt we’d reward the guys that finished it off so well last year. Obviously depending on fitness and form and that kind of thing, we know Jonny can open the batting and keep wicket as well. It gives us a few options but he has done well at No. 4 for England just recently.”

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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